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Making Music

Friday, August 24, 2018


Sometimes a donor comes along who wants to do something really special to enhance the lives of the residents at St. Paul’s. Because of one such donor, St. Paul’s is now offering music therapy once a week by board certified music therapist Cindy Legwaila. 

“We all relate to music at such a fundamental emotional level and regardless of our age or ability, music speaks to our soul,” said The Villas Administrator Tammy Lininger. St. Paul’s knew a concentrated music therapy program would be a wonderful addition to the life enrichment activities already being offered.

“We have seen many remarkable effects of music on the spirit of residents in the long-term care setting,” said Tammy. “We are so excited and enthusiastic to have this opportunity to offer the services of a music therapist to our residents right here at St. Paul’s!”

Cindy offers music therapy at various sites in Northwestern Pennsylvania and is thrilled to be coming to St Paul’s every Wednesday. She received her bachelor’s degree in music therapy from Nazareth College of Rochester. 

Cindy’s first visit was on August 8. On each visit, she will be spending time at The Villas, The Heritage, Jones Serenity Circle & Lane, and The Ridgewood offering small group sessions and one-on-one services as needed, as well as staff training. “It is my greatest pleasure to be building a music therapy program at St. Paul’s,” said Cindy. “I will be assessing individuals’ needs to figure out how they best connect with music and come up with a treatment plan that can even be used by the staff even when I’m not on campus.”


Acccording to research, music therapy can help promote wellness, manage stress and anxiety, alleviate pain, enhance memory, improve communication and provide unique opportunities for interaction. 

Some examples of music therapy are creating music together, listening to music, lyric discussion and dancing to music. A resident doesn’t need to have any particular music ability to benefit from music therapy. 

“We are all created with rhythm in our bodies and the ability to recognize the pitch of our mother’s voices at very young age,” said Cindy. “The beautiful thing is that even when other parts of our bodies start to shut down as we age, our brain never forgets the music.” 

In the last few weeks, Cindy has seen residents who are unable to speak or communicate because of dementia sing every word to a song, tap a drum along to the rhythm perfectly, jump out of their chair and dance, and sit still for the first time all day to strum a guitar. To find out more about the new music therapy services at St. Paul’s, please contact a Life Enrichment Specialist. 

If you are interested in how you can make a gift to enhance the lives of the residents at St. Paul’s or show appreciation for the care your loved one receives, please contact VP of Charitable Giving Diane O’Brien at 724-588-7610 ext. 1237 or Development Specialist Dawn Hartman at ext. 1214.